Read and marvel at the latest crock to spew from Rick Santorum’s mouth, this one about old people in the Netherlands:
“In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly. And the bracelet is: ‘Do not euthanize me.’ Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — ten percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.”
Euthanasia bracelets? Ten percent of all deaths in the Netherlands are from euthanasia? Fifty percent of all elderly in that country are put to death involuntarily? Do these statistics make sense to anyone? Where the hell does he get this stuff? Predictably, we are the laughing stock of the Netherlands now. Thanks a lot, asshole.
I’ll tell you where he gets it. This is the kind of nonsense that lands in your e-mail box with a huge list of FW: names. Hey, conservatives: think about what you’re doing, okay? Before you unthinkingly hit the “send” key on that fact-free bullshit your cousin’s best friend got from her sister-in-law’s former Bible study teacher, think about what you’re reading. Stop a moment and consider: do you want this coming out of Rick Santorum’s mouth? Because there’s a very good chance that this is where it will end up. And that means people who aren’t brain dead are going to hear it, and someone might actually check the facts, and then the rest of us will point and laugh, and your favorite candidate’s chances for the presidency go down in flames.
From the WaPo:
Nevertheless, the statistics show it is still a relatively uncommon form of death. In 2010, the number of euthanasia cases reported to one of five special commissions was 3,136, according to their annual report. This was a 19 percent increase over 2009, but “this amounts to 2.3 percent of all 136,058 deaths in the Netherlands in 2010,” said Carla Bundy, spokeswoman for the Dutch embassy in Washington.
At the time of the annual report, the commissions had been able to reach conclusions in 2,667 euthanasia notifications reported to the agency and found only nine in which “the physician had not acted in accordance with the due care criteria,” the annual report said. More than 80 percent of the patients were suffering from cancer; almost 80 percent died at home.
A 2005 study by the New England Journal of Medicine found only a minimal number of the cases — 0.4 percent — in which there was an ending of life without explicit request by the patient. The study concluded the rate had actually been cut in half since the euthanasia law was passed.
These statistics were so at odds with Santorum’s claims that we wondered how he could have thought that 50 percent of the elderly were put to death involuntarily (or that 10 percent of all deaths in Holland were from euthanasia.) Spokesmen for Santorum did not respond to a query, but the best we can tell, he is grossly misinterpreting the results of a 1991 survey known as the Remmelink Report, which was influential in crafting the 2001 law.
And those bracelets? The article quotes Dutch officials saying they don’t exist. They can only conclude that Santorum was talking about living wills, which they do have in the Netherlands and which we also have here in the States.
So, where does this shit come from? I’ll tell you: right wing organizations that have the word “family” in their name. Phony Christian groups located in the hinterlands of Louisiana or Kansas or Georgia, who claim to love the 10 Commandments but keep forgetting about that ninth one (look it up if you don’t know). The Patriot Depot, a massive money-making machine spreading misinformation and lies to the gullible. These folks make some shit up and put it in an e-mail or direct mail piece because the more outrageous and salacious, the more likely some poor sucker will shake the change out of their wallet. These groups are the worst sort of grifters, unworthy of the trust their followers have placed in them. But when nobody bothers to call them on it, the lies just spread like a poison gas around the populace. Until they end up in the mouth of a politician like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum, of course. Then we all get to point and laugh.
So conservatives, think before you send. You never know where this nonsense will end up.